Diana O'Kelly: Candidate Profile
Fremont Township Supervisor (4-year Term) (Republican)
Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Fremont Township Supervisor (4-year Term)
Family: Married, two children
Occupation: Lake County Board Member 1994 to present Forest Preserve Commissioner 1994 to present 1981 to 1992 President of ERC, a technical recruiting firm
Education: BA Business Barat College, Minor: Computer Science
Civic involvement: Fremont Strategic Plan Commission Amazing Mundelein Mundelein Mainstreet Mundelein Pride Mundelein Show Choir Parent Organization Santas Cottage Fremont PTO Fremont Fun Fair Poppy Day for Veterans Market Day Fort Hill Director
Elected offices held: Lake County Board 1994 to present Lake County Forest Preserve 1994 to present Precinct Committeeman 1996 to 2006
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Fiscal soundness, communication, accessibility and transparency are some of my top priorities. I will maintain a balanced budget, evaluate programs for effectiveness, and assess the needs of the township. I will continue my e-newsletter that has enabled me to communicate programs, services and issues to over 4000 people in the township. I will be accessible on my phone at 847 833-1019, able to meet with any of my constituents upon their request and work to make Fremont Township much more transparent.
Key Issue 2
I am hearing from the public that they really don't know the role of township government. Communicating to the public the role of their township is extremely important. In this economy, many people are looking for guidance. The township needs to be the central resource to refer people to existing services. Currently, I am meeting with agencies, senior groups, youth groups, local homeowners associations, local businesses and other governmental bodies so that I am fully prepared to serve in this new capacity. The lack of coordination between township government and local agencies is troubling.
Key Issue 3
I intend to broaden the relationship between Fremont Township and our large senior population and become more involved with our youth.
Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term. Prioritize them, and briefly discuss why you believe each to be critical, and how the board should go about addressing them.
Fiscal Responsibility: I will work with the board to assess the current needs of the township programs, parks and facilities, while maintaining our balanced budget and planning for the future. Communication: Communication with our constituency is so important. I will continue to keep the residents notified of issues that impact them by email, but I also want to enhance our newsletter and find a better way to communicate with those in the district who do not have a computer. Transparency- I will be working with the board to enhance the openness of township government by meeting with our homeowners associations, and senior and youth groups. We will also utilize facebook and email communications.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
Township government serves everyone in the township regardless of whether they are in a municipality or the unincorporated area, and most services are unique to township government and not provided by state, local or municipal government. (General assistance, emergency assistance, food pantry, and property assessment) The one exception is the maintenance of the roads. Fremont Township maintains 42 miles of road in unincorporated Fremont Township and most people are unaware that 50% of the Road and Bridge fund on their tax bill is redistributed to the Municipalities based on population. It is more cost effective to have the Township maintain the roads than it would be for State, County or Municipal Government.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
The main role of township government is to effectively and efficiently administer general assistance, emergency aid and Liheap, run the food pantry, refer clients to social service agencies, assess the needs of the township residents, maintain the unincorporated roads and assess property in the township.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
The current trustees, who asked me to run as their supervisor, share my fiscally conservative values. Fremont Township representatives have always watched their levies and tax rates. I will be looking at the current programming and assess the effectiveness and need, look for waste or duplication of services, search for grant opportunities, pursue partnering with other agencies evaluate costs and benefits, and assess the risks to determine liability and adequate insurance coverage.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
Prior to being elected to the county board, I ran a successful business for eleven years where I learned first hand how to meet a payroll, manage a staff, and meet my customers needs. I also learned the value of a dollar. I took these principals and skills to county government where my philosophy has been that I don't spend money I don't have. The result is a AAA bond rated county. I have established a proven record of public service to the residents of Fremont Township. My experience as a Lake County Board member has provided me with the knowledge and skills necessary to openly and effectively guide Fremont Township. I have represented Fremont Township and have always worked with the residents on issues that impacted their quality of life. Some of my accomplishments include: Keeping my district informed on issues and programs that impact them through mailings and my e-newsletter Working with homeowners associations on issues impacting their neighborhoods Bringing neighborhood watch programs to unincorporated subdivisions Bringing transportation improvements to our district Expanding our forest preserve system Bringing county programs to our area Being a conduit for government resources and questions Creating a regional trail system through our community Standing up against unfair water rates Fighting the Nudie Bar Voting to cut my salary when the county budget was tight. Over the years, I have developed positive relationships with local government, organizations and agencies that will enable me to bring improved services and programs to Township residents. I have always been committed to being accessible and responsive to all Township residents, and will continue that commitment should I be elected to serve as Township Supervisor. Because of my success in reaching out to my constituents, and responding to their needs, I have earned a compassionate and trusting reputation, which I feel will serve me well as Supervisor. In fact, it is this reputation that prompted current Township Board members to approach me and ask that I run for this position.